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Sectarian divide: Fundraiser for a Shia woman gets cancelled

Sectarian divide: Fundraiser for a Shia woman gets cancelled

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A storm took over Muslim Twitter this week after a user cancelled a fundraiser for a Shia woman who was shot dead on Sunday afternoon.

The woman, nineteen-year-old Aya Ismail Hachem, was killed when she was out grocery shopping in Blackburn, UK, according to Lancashire Police. She was taken to hospital where she later died. Police confirmed that the young woman was caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting.

The victim

Hachem, who hailed from a Lebanese refugee family, was a second-year law student at the University of Salford and a volunteer with the Children’s Society charity.

Sectarianism takes precedence over the tragedy itself

The tragic death in the month of Ramadan shocked the community and several fundraising efforts were made across social media. However, some Muslim Twitter users posted discriminatory sentiments urging others to be wary of donating towards the cause due to the victim’s background.

Some also chose to withdraw their donations for a well to be built in honour of Hachem and divert their fundraising to support her grieving family after learning her family identified as Shia Muslim.

One of the organisers, Twitter user @humbleakh1, said, “I didn’t know she was a Shia… no way do I want to be in a situation where all this cause could go against me on the Day of Judgement.” The comment was soon taken down.

User @Hannanqazi_ also raised 30000 Euros to build a mosque in Niger for Aya. “The fact that the family aren’t in the best of financial situations and have only granted me to utilize £5000 to build the masjid in Niger for sister Aya,” Qazi said. “As the rest of the money will go towards the funeral costs and whatever additional costs the father may need to cover.”

In response, Qazi was cautioned against “building a mosque in the case it’s a Rafidi/Shia place of worship” and to “donate to a proper masjid.”

There’s also support

Anti-Shia sentiment across the globe

On a global scale, it is no secret that Shia Muslims are time and time again targeted in bombings and shootings organised to limit their existence. Shia Muslims often endure cultural and systemic violence that downgrades them as second-class citizens and leaves them in search of justice. The lack of aid and support within humanitarian efforts for Shia Muslims is also not new. Many Shia Muslims report facing discrimination in obtaining funding, not just across the Muslim regions, but also the West.

Three men have been arrested in suspicion of Aya’s murder.

Also read: Punjab Assembly: Ahmedis will need to accept they’re non-Muslims in order to be included in the Minority Commission

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